Monday, June 29, 2009

Emporiums at Baba Kharak Singh Marg

The emporium complex at Baba Kharak Singh Marg was designed to showcase the craft, culture, cuisine and tourism of the various states. So Emporium or Baba Kharak Singh Marg is a favourite haunt for many as nearly all states of India and Union territories have their respective showrooms. Recent additions have been Goa, Uttaranchal, Chattisgarh, Jharkhand and Mizoram all on the top floor of the Rajiv Gandhi Handicraft Bhawan. Their showrooms are just taking off, though there is a plethora of craft items in them. The emporiums are all run by the various state Governments and not by private individuals. Thus the products are genuine as most emporiums source it from artisans or craftsmen groups. The Emporiums traditionally sold craft items from their particular state. Though now it is not uncommon to find Kashmiri shawls in a non shawl producing state or jewellery from Rajasthan in another state. There was a time earlier, when the states vied with each other for the offering, now though this has considerably declined. However, one can still pick up some genuine and beautiful pieces from the respective state and Union territories. Each of the state has its tourism information centre above the emporium. The Delhi state emporia has an interesting array of toys, Kerala – bell metal works, The Andhra Pradesh Emporium good fabrics…. There is an array of interesting products.

Location – Located in Connaught Place, Opposite Regal Cinema & Hanuman Mandir.

Timings – The Emporiums open at 10:00 am and close by 6:00 pm – 6:30 pm. Parking is available at the back of the complex and the front side. Alternatively park in Connaught Place inner circle and walk it. It is fun.

Highlight – It is possible to see the offerings from various states in one place. The Emporiums are mines of information of products made in each of the state.

Insider Tip – It is best to avoid the place in the afternoon when all Emporiums close for an hour’s lunch. Especially the time between 1:00 – 2:00 pm. The prices of some products are very very reasonable while some exceedingly high. The festival season sale – Diwali or year end is an ideal time to pick up bargain buys. Some items can be discounted at more than 50%. Earlier the shops were highly bureaucratic and staid a reflection of the Government running. But now there is a definitive change and the employees are friendly and genuinely want to sell. Most emporiums keep getting new stock through out the year, one can ferret out interesting products. Try the Rajdhani restaurant or Bikanervala for good food after a shopping binge!

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